We took note of the meeting of the “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons” held in Paris between May 17-18. Predictably, its final Declaration is imbued with the spirit of confrontation with Russia and blatant anti-Syrian rhetoric.

The co-authors of the document, among other things, call on other countries to create an attribution mechanism which , according to their plans, would merely reaffirm the parties responsible for chemical crimes already “designated” by the West and thus legalise the missile strike on Syria, a sovereign UN member state, delivered in April of this year by the “troika” of permanent UN Security Council members (the USA, Britain and France) in violation of the UN Charter and universally accepted norms of international law.

The “troika” who founded the “partnership” and the “like-thinking” others who have joined it hypocritically come out for accountability while continuing to block all the Russian initiatives on setting up under the UN SC a truly impartial as well as highly professional investigative body to replace the totally discredited former OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism for Syria (JIM) which until last November was fulfilling their political assignment to discredit the Assad government on the basis of absolutely unproven accusations of “chemical” provocations actually perpetrated by the Syrian militant opposition. They choose to simply accuse Russia of “killing” the JIM while keeping mum about the fact that it was they who “killed” the JIM in the autumn of last year by voting against our draft UN SC resolution on improving its work and harmonizing it with all the provisions of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CPCW). Does it not indicate that they have no need for an investigation to identify the true perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Middle East? Their only goal is to remove from power the legitimate Syrian government by any methods, to further their geopolitical interests by devaluing the positive shifts towards national reconciliation and political settlement in Syria achieved in the framework of the Astana, Sochi and Geneva processes.

These are the underlying goals for the sake of which, in violation of the bedrock principles of the CPCW, this quasi-nonproliferation format in the shape of the “partnership” was set up. The main goal is to accumulate data on “physical and legal persons, organisations and governments” which, in the opinion of the “partners,” are guilty of using chemical weapons, with a view to imposing on them sanctions on the national and international level backed by corresponding court decisions.

Fitting into this context was the latest meeting of the “partnership” during the course of which the French initiators of the “club” announced sanctions at the national level against physical and legal persons allegedly linked with the activities of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (CERS) at Barzah and Jamraya. The supplement to the Paris-sponsored Declaration lists all the individuals allegedly involved in research or acquiring material contributing to the development of the Syrian military-chemical potential in the interests of the centre (which, incidentally, has already been destroyed as a result of the April missile strike by France and its allies). This despite the fact that the OPCW Technical Secretariat has since 2016 conducted repeated unrestricted inspections at CERS and has found no evidence of any activities banned under the CPCW. This is nothing if not sheer cynicism. Apparently this is how the French “partners” intend to set an example to motivate “like-thinking” countries to commit similar acts that do not only contravene international law but challenge simple common sense.

On the strength of the above it would not be irrelevant to ask whether the “partnership” intends to impose sanctions against the physical and legal persons in a number of Western countries who had been directly involved in building up the former Syrian military chemical programme. It would also be interesting to know the outlook for those who, by-passing the sanctions introduced by the West, including the European Union, until recently continued “commercial” supplies on Syrian territory not controlled by Damascus chemicals that can be used to produce improvised chemical weapons. The answer is obviously “no,” although the OPCW and the UN Security Council have received the relevant information from the Syrian authorities.

Now for the attacks directed at Russia over the “Skripal case” contained in the Partnership’s latest ministerial statement that bristles with the same epithets with regard to our country and mentions the notorious Novichok.

Following NATO and the EU over used formulas the participating states “share and agree with the United Kingdom’s analysis that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.” In other words, as a token of solidarity everyone subscribes to the British official version in the absence of any grounds or evidence. The picture is clear, but we would still like to know which partner countries were represented in Paris at the ministerial level and who personally signed the statement, something the document chooses to keep silent about. One would also like to ask the “ministers” about the continuing flow of reports to the effect that contrary to London’s hysterical denials, Novichok has been worked on since the 1990s inside Britain as well as in the USA, France, Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic and probably other Western countries united by “bloc” solidarity and common geopolitical interests.

Sooner or later the truth will come out and the accusations leveled against Russia and Syria of the “use of propaganda, false and fabricated news stories or other such tools and campaigns designed to deliberately create misinformation about chemical weapons attacks” will turn against their authors. Their instigation of the Syrian militant opposition to commit such provocations may result in the phenomenon of “chemical” terrorism born in the Middle East with their connivance and spreading beyond the region with all the catastrophic consequences this entails.